See full profile: Pretoria Accountant - Nico Campher
Were you always planning to be an accountant and why?
I was always going to be involved in business, and being an accountant was the obvious choice to be in the engine room. The alternative was a game ranger.
When meeting with clients do they mostly come to your own premises or do you mostly go their theirs?
I mostly go to my clients.
What is your preferred mode of communication with your clients?
Email, Phone, Face to Face, WhatsApp, Zoom etc.
Have you ever done an online video call with a client?
What do you love most about accounting?
Engaging with business owners
Would you recommend accounting as a career for school-leavers, and why?
Accounting can be a promising career choice for school-leavers for several reasons:
Job Stability: Accounting is an essential function in any business or organization. As long as there is commerce, there will be a demand for accountants to handle financial transactions, record-keeping, and reporting.
Career Opportunities: Accountants can work in various industries, including public accounting firms, corporate finance departments, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and more. This diversity offers school-leavers a wide range of potential career paths.
Transferable Skills: Accounting provides valuable skills that can be applied in other areas of business and management. These skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, financial analysis, and strategic planning.
Competitive Salaries: Accounting professionals often enjoy competitive salaries, especially as they gain experience and professional certifications.
Flexibility: Accountants may have the flexibility to work as full-time employees, part-time consultants, or even start their own accounting practices as entrepreneurs.
Opportunities for Growth: With continued education, certifications (such as CPA, CMA, ACCA, CA etc.), and experience, accountants can progress to higher-level roles, such as financial manager, controller, or CFO.
Global Demand: Accounting qualifications are recognized internationally, making it possible for accountants to work in various countries or pursue international opportunities.
However, like any career, accounting also has its challenges:
Repetitive Tasks: Some aspects of accounting can be monotonous, such as data entry and routine bookkeeping.
High Responsibility: Accountants deal with financial information that can have significant implications for businesses or individuals, so attention to detail and accuracy are crucial.
Long Hours: During certain periods, like tax season or financial reporting deadlines, accountants may need to work long hours to meet deadlines.
Ultimately, whether accounting is a good career choice for a school-leaver depends on their individual interests, strengths, and long-term goals. If a school-leaver enjoys working with numbers, has a strong attention to detail, and is interested in finance and business, accounting could be a rewarding and stable career option to consider. However, it's essential for individuals to research further, speak to professionals in the field, and possibly pursue internships or entry-level positions to gain a better understanding of the profession before committing to it as a career path.
What qualities should South African business people be looking for in their accountant?
They should look for specific qualities in their accountants to ensure they have a competent and reliable financial professional on their team. Qualities to consider are:
1. Technical Expertise: A qualified accountant with the necessary educational background, certifications (e.g., Chartered Management Accountant [ACMA], Chartered Accountant [CA], Certified Public Accountant [CPA]), and experience in accounting and finance is essential. Look for someone who is up-to-date with South African accounting principles and tax regulations.
2. Integrity and Ethics: Trust is crucial in any business relationship, especially when it comes to financial matters. Seek an accountant with a strong ethical compass and a track record of maintaining confidentiality and acting with integrity.
3. Attention to Detail: Accountants deal with vast amounts of financial data, and even the smallest errors can have significant consequences. Look for someone who is meticulous and pays close attention to detail in their work.
4. Analytical Skills: A good accountant should be able to interpret financial data and provide meaningful insights to help the business make informed decisions. Strong analytical skills are essential for financial planning and forecasting.
5. Communication Skills: Effective communication is vital for accountants to convey complex financial information to business owners and stakeholders. Look for an accountant who can explain financial concepts clearly and concisely.
6. Problem-Solving Abilities: Financial challenges can arise in any business. An accountant should have problem-solving skills to identify issues, propose solutions, and help the business navigate financial obstacles.
7. Technology Proficiency: Modern accounting relies heavily on financial software and technology like Xero, Sage, Simplepay etc. An accountant should be comfortable using these accounting software packages and adapting to technological advancements in the field.
8. Time Management and Organization: Deadlines are a crucial aspect of accounting, especially during tax season and financial reporting periods. A good accountant should be organized and capable of managing their time effectively.
9. Business Acumen: While technical accounting skills are essential, a strong accountant should also have a good understanding of the business environment, industry trends, and economic factors that may impact the company's financial health.
10. Proactive Approach: Seek an accountant who takes the initiative to stay informed about changes in tax laws, financial regulations, and accounting standards. A proactive accountant can help the business stay compliant and take advantage of financial opportunities.
11. Client-Focused: Look for an accountant who is genuinely interested in your business's success and is committed to providing excellent service. A client-focused accountant is more likely to go the extra mile to support your business needs. Remember that every business is unique, and the qualities you prioritize may vary based on your specific industry and company requirements.
What is the biggest challenge facing accountants today?
Accountants face significant challenges due to the rapid advancement of technology. Automation and artificial intelligence have automated many tasks, leading accountants to adapt and focus on higher-value responsibilities.
What aspects of accounting do you focus on most?
I prefer the operational aspects of accounting. As an accountant, you cannot only sit at your computer and expect your client to do well, without understanding the intricacies of their business. I enjoy spending time in the field to understand the operational requirements of a business and advise accordingly on efficiencies to better grow the business and streamline their finances.
Describe your average client:
Our clients come from different sectors and have specific needs. But our clients are predominantly small to medium enterprises, either starting out, or have been with us for a few years. Employees range between 5 - 10 and owners are actively involved.
How far away from your premises is your furthest client?
Our services also include individual tax clients, many of whom are abroad. Locally, Cape Town would be the furthest.
From your accounting experience, if you could cite one of the biggest reasons SME's in SA fail, what would it be?
Not getting a good accountant from day one. Many companies and business owners start their businesses and do what they know best. Unfortunately, many of them neglect their financial obligations, and find themselves in big trouble, with especially SARS, a few years down the line. They then either do not have enough cash flow to appoint an accountant to assist them with getting their financials up to date, or their debt with SARS is too great to continue.
What accounting software do you like best?
Xero and SimplePay
What other software, online services or apps do you use?
We use Draftworx for compiling financial statements and Quicklysign for contract purposes. Hubdoc integrates great with Xero.
What is your opinion on Bitcoin?
Would it be corny to say I love it. You are either into Crypto Currencies or you are not. Many people have, unfortunately, fallen victim to scams, which then puts them off the technology completely. I do believe there is a place for this type of currency in the future. It is borderless and in many instances much more cost effective than traditional financial systems.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Family is really important to me, so whatever it is I am doing, as long as it is with them.
What is the most interesting thing on your bucket list?
What has your experience been on FindanAccountant?
Always super friendly and helpful staff in the back end, and a platform that gives you superb exposure to the South African Business market.
See how our other local South African accountants have answered the above questions.